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5 Successful Transformational Leadership Examples

5 Successful Transformational Leadership Examples


Jane Ng 13 Mar 2023 6 min read

Transformational leadership is one of the most effective types of leadership that is widely used in businesses and organizations. So what is the transformational leadership examples?

Transformational leaders are inspirational and can create positive change at all levels, from individuals to large groups to achieve bigger goals.

This article will help managers understand these styles through 7 examples of Transformational leadership. Let’s get started!

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What is Transformational Leadership?

Have you ever met a manager who was able to communicate team goals and inspire all team members strongly? This leadership style is known as Transformational Leadership.

What is transformational leadership? The transformational leadership style is characterised by encouraging and inspiring people to innovate themselves – contributing to the growth and success of the business. They focus on building a strong sense of corporate culture, ownership, and autonomy at work.

transformational leadership examples
Employees giving hands and helping colleagues to walk upstairs. Team giving support, growing together. Vector illustration for teamwork, mentorship, cooperation concept

So is it hard to be a transformational leader? Transformational leaders don’t micro-manage – instead, they trust their employees’ ability to handle their work. This leadership style allows employees to be creative, think boldly, and be willing to propose new solutions through coaching and mentoring.

Transactional vs. Transformational Leader

Many people are confused between the two concepts of Transformational and Transactional StyleHere are some differences: 

  • Meaning: Transactional style is a type of leadership whereby rewards and punishments are used as the basis for initiating followers. While Transformational is a leadership style in which a leader uses his charisma and enthusiasm to influence his followers.
  • Concept: The transactional leader emphasizes his relationship with his followers. In contrast, transformational leadership places a focus on the values, beliefs, and needs of his followers.
  • Nature: Transactional Leadership is reactive while Transformational Leadership is proactive.
Transformational style – Transformational Leadership Examples – Photo: freepik
  • Best suited for: Transactional leadership is best for a stable environment, but Transformation is suitable for a chaotic environment.
  • Objective: Transactional leadership works to improve the existing conditions of the organization. On the other hand, Transformational Leadership works to change the existing conditions of the organization.
  • Quantity: In Transactional Leadership, there is only one leader in a team. In Transformational Leadership, there can be more than one leader in a team.
  • Motivation: Transactional leadership focuses on planning and execution, while transformational leadership drives innovation.

Two Transactional Leadership Examples

Case example: The director of a supermarket chain meets with each team member once a month to discuss how they can meet and exceed the company’s monthly goals for bonuses. Each of the top 5 highest-grossing members in the district will receive a monetary reward.

Real-life example of leadership: Bill Gates – Throughout Microsoft’s evolution, Bill’s dominance of transactional leadership has contributed to the phenomenal growth of the organization. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is the right choice when your business needs change. This style is not for newly established companies that have not yet completed the structure and working process.

Change Leadership Examples – Transformational Leadership Examples – Photo: cookie_studio


  • Facilitating and encouraging the development of new ideas
  • Ensuring a balance between short-term vision and long-term goals
  • Building trust among members of the organization
  • Encouraging integrity and empathy for others (high emotional intelligence – EQ)


  • Not suitable for new businesses
  • Requiring a clear organizational structure
  • Not work well with bureaucratic models

5 Successful Examples of Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership examples in business

  • Jeff Bezos

As the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos has always understood that a successful business is customer-focused. Despite reporters’ objections in the clip, Bezos offers a bold vision of what the world’s largest online retailer will become – and how he will deliver it.

Build a leadership team for transformation

Amazon is the perfect model of transformational leadership and shows that by building on a series of short-term goals, things can be achieved at a great scale.

Transformational leadership examples in sports

  • Billy Beane (Major League Baseball)

Billy Beane, executive vice president of baseball brand Oakland Athletics, is a pioneer in changing long-held beliefs about structure and process. 

By applying advanced analytical techniques to Athletics’ recruiting strategy, his fellow coaches can identify potential signings that have been overlooked or undervalued by their opponents. 

Not only in the sports field, but Beane’s techniques also have potential applications in the business world.

Transformational leadership examples in politics

  • Barack Obama

Barack Hussein Obama is an American politician and lawyer and the 44th President of the United States.

US Ambassador Susan Rice commented that Obama “Makes people feel that their views are heard and appreciated. So even if your opinion is not chosen, you still feel your vision is valuable. That makes you all the more enthusiastic to support his final decision.”

Barack Obama believes that without personal opinions that benefit the community, people will easily be swayed by criticism from other individuals. If they don’t train themself to have a clear opinion, they will spend a lot of time changing their plans and not becoming a great leader.

Benefits of transformational leadership – Transformational Leadership Examples – Image: freepik

Transformational leadership examples in human rights activism

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968)

He was a great American human rights activist and will forever be remembered by the world for his contributions.

Martin Luther King is considered one of the most famous transformational leaders in history.

He became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 35. When he won, he used the prize money of 54,123 USD to continue to develop the movement for human rights.

In 1963, King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, envisioning an America in which people of all races lived equally.

Transformational leadership examples in the media industry

  • Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey – “The Queen of All Media”. She hosted the Oprah Winfrey Show from 1986 to 2011. It was the highest-rated talk show in history and Winfrey became an African American richest man of the 20th century.

Time magazine named her one of its most influential people in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. A Forbes article from October 2010 celebrates Winfrey as a transformational leader because she could inspire her employees to fulfill her vision while maintaining mass appeal.

How to Improve Transformational Leadership

Here are 4 steps you can take to improve transformational leadership:

Have a clear vision

You must communicate a clear and convincing mission statement to your employees. That vision is why you – and your employees – wake up every morning. So, the managers have to understand the core values and the capabilities of the subordinates as the available resources to create high-performing teams

Motivate everyone

Tell your employees inspirational stories – so that they realize the benefits that will come from pursuing your vision. Not just once – you need to interact with your subordinates regularly, align the company vision with their interests and show them what you can do to make it happen.

Image: freepik

Build trust with employees

As a transformational leader, you must regularly communicate directly with each team member. The goal is to identify their development needs and what you can do to help them achieve aspirations.

Monitor business operations

It is not uncommon for leaders to come up with a strategic vision, but not put in the effort to execute it. To solve this problem, communication within the business is essential. All members need to be fully aware of their roles and how their performance will be measured.

On the other hand, clear and (SMART) goals are also essential. These goals include short-term work that can help businesses achieve rapid success and inspire all employees.

Problem with Transformational Leadership

Transformational leaders may need to be more optimistic and visionary, leading them to overlook practical considerations and potential risks.

It can be emotionally draining for both the leader and members! This leadership style often requires high energy and enthusiasm, and the constant need to inspire and motivate others can be exhausting over time. Team members may feel overwhelmed or pressured to meet the high expectations set by the transformational leader, leading to burnout or disengagement.

Overcoming those two problems is the best way to be an inspiring transformational leader!

Final Thoughts 

Transformational Leadership may not be the right choice in every situation. However, the advantage of this leadership style is the ability to “unleash” the full development potential of the business.

Managers must constantly focus on improving leadership skills – to empower employees and determine the right direction for the business.

Let’s start the first steps of change by inspiring employees with live presentations for a day of meetings or work that is no longer boring!

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